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Published July 17, 2019

Canada is blessed with an abundance of lakes and rivers, and therefore what better way is there to celebrate summer than recreational boating? Boating is one of the country’s favourite pastimes and although most do it safely, it is still a common source of injury. An 18-year study by the Canadian Red Cross stated that 57% of incidents occur during the summer months. Even with the sun shining, the marine environment can be an extremely harsh one that causes severe boating fatalities.

Recreational boating is the dominant aquatic activity in Ontario. Whilst boats are used for transportation and work purposes, these activities result in far less boating accidents due to the drivers having more experience and training. The rise of recreational boating has led to the formation of organizations that promote safe boating. The Canadian Safe Boating Council (CSBC) was founded in 1991 and strives to promote safety awareness in an attempt to reduce the number of boating accidents.

Unfortunately every year, many people remain blissfully unaware of simple details that are fundamental to their safety. Here are five important safety tips to adhere to when out on the water this season:

1. Wear your lifejacket. The Canadian Red Cross discovered that more than 24% of boating fatalities occur when the victim is not wearing a lifejacket but has one onboard. Conversely wearing a lifejacket could stop 90% of all boating related drownings. The correlation between lifejackets and injury prevention is abundantly clear so they should be worn, not simply carried!

2. Stay sober. The Canadian Red Cross found that alcohol was present or assumed in over 50% of boating fatalities. Organizations such as MADD are committed to fighting against boating under the influence and offer support to victims and survivors. 

3. Enroll in a boating course. Knowledge equals awareness, which is why the law dictates that anyone driving a motorized boat must have a pleasure-craft operator card. By obtaining your PCO card you reinforce the safety of everyone aboard.

4. Be prepared. This step encompasses the first three and more. Making sure your boat has the appropriate safety equipment and sufficient fuel is only part of the process. It is also important and your responsibility to plan accordingly.

5. Know your environment. It takes less than a minute for cold water to deteriorate your health. Cold water is extremely dangerous and it is imperative that you learn to protect yourself from its effects.

Extensive research and reports have indicated that most boating accidents could be prevented by a combination of preventive measures.

If you’ve been involved in a boating accident, it can be extremely traumatic. However you shouldn’t have to face the aftermath alone. MG Law is here to be your support system offering legal services in as many as seven different languages.

For your free consultation, please contact us at (613) 730-8460

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